Bear hunting may return to Florida

Proposal comes after recent rash of attacks in Orlando area

ORLANDO, Fla. - Bear hunting might soon be legal in Florida again after more than two decades.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission executive director Nick Wiley says he plans to put the issue on the agenda for the board's Feb. 4 meeting. Banned since 1994, if the commission approves, bear hunting could occur as soon as this fall.

Wiley says the season would be short, with strict quotas. The proposal comes after a recent rash of bear maulings in Central Florida.

Environmental groups are preparing to oppose the return of bear hunting. Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation, said allowing hunters to kill bears in the wilder parts of the state wouldn't address the issue of human food-habituated bears in suburban areas.

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